Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5 star FISH & CHIPS 2014

Fish and Chips are a favorite British ‘fast food’.
They are delicious wrapped in newsprint (believed to give them a special flavor), very filling and one of our favorite meals when we travel in England.
One visit we visited four to five 'chippies' till we found our favorite right where we were staying!
The favorite, traditional accompaniment is ‘mushy peas’ but I omit this.
Over there when I order fish and chips I get I favor Tilapia first for this dish.  Swai Basa too does a good job so it comes in second.  
The fish has to be a firm, white fish.
Originally beef fat and lard were used but now veggie oils are used for frying.
Thick round chips absorb less oil so that’s what I make.

Compared to other take-away foods Fish and chips have: 9.42 grams of fat per 100 grams. The average pizza has 11, Big Mac meal with medium fries has 12.1, Whopper meal with medium fries has 14.5, chicken korma 15.5 and doner kebab 16.2.

Fish and chips have 595 calories in the average portion - an average pizza has 871, Big Mac meal with medium fries has 888, Whopper meal with medium fries has 892, chicken korma 910 and doner kebab 924.

Statistics courtesy of Seafish UK.”

To make it into my 5 star collection of recipes I had to work on this recipe over the years till it suited our family’s tastes.

My recipe is a combination of three tried and tested ones by international chefs:  Alton Brown, Jamie Oliver and Tyler.
I have to improve it with  Indian flavor to it so there are additions to their recipes.


3-4 large Russet potatoes ( potatoes should be the floury kind not waxy)
Kosher salt (rock salt)

1 ½ lbs fish fillets cut into strips (or I quarter each fillet.)
2 cups flour (I use all purpose)
1 egg
Salt and pepper
Haldi, chilli powder.
Dark beer/club soda.
Dash of Old Bay seasoning.
2-3 tbsps cornstarch/rice flour for dredging fish.   

Safflower/sunflower oil for frying.
(some oils leave the fish and potatoes limp and you will have to re-fry.)

In blender/food processor mix flour, egg, beer/soda, salt (half the amount you would normally add), pepper, chilli powder, Old Bay, to a very smooth dipping batter consistency thick enough to coat fish but not as thick as pancake batter.

Refrigerate batter for 15 mins to one hr.

Cut potatoes into thick circles or thick finger chips (I prefer the latter but made the round ones for this 'take').
Soak in water for 10 mins.  Drain well.

Rinse fillets, drain well.
Rub with 1 level  tsp haldi, 11/2 tsp salt and 1-2 tsps chilli powder.
(Rubbing with haldi/turmeric eliminates odor and the chilli powder and salt impart flavor)

Heat oil to 325 (medium hot)

Fry  potato chips till half done.  Remove and drain.
(English chef Jamie Oliver suggests boiling them till done but NOT overdone instead and draining them.  I haven’t tried this but will next time.)

Heat oil to 350 (hot but not smoking) in a kadai or skillet.
A good test as always is to put in a drop of batter and see if it comes to the surface of the oil right away.
(This is deep fried so oil must be at least one inch or more.  Make sure it will not bubble over sides when fish/chips are added)
Roll fillets in cornflour or rice flour.  ( I omit this step)
Dip in batter.
Deep fry in small batches till deep golden brown.


Re-fry potato chips/fingers in this oil till the same color as the fish.
Sprinkle with kosher salt while hot.

Serve hot with malt vinegar or catsup (ketchup mixed with vinegar).

I love the way the batter is not soggy/oily, when done properly and the fish is perfectly cooked.


If your fish seems to go limp while you do the potatoes, either put them in the oven to crisp them up (I use the toaster oven and it comes out great) or re-fry them.

Left over batter?
No problem.

Coat onion slices or shrimp and deep the fish and chips a new twist.

To make your mushy peas, put the butter in a pan with the peas and the chopped mint. Put a lid on top and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. You can either mush the peas up in a food processor, or you can mash them by hand until they are stodgy, thick and perfect for dipping your fish into. Keep them warm while you cook your fish and chips.

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